Independent hotel branding
Back in the 1970s, the Holiday Inn revolutionized the idea of homogenizing the American hospitality experience. Increasingly travelers wanted to know where they would stay when they were tired. So the branded hotel was born, as we know it today, the same here, as there, as everywhere. Holiday Inn created an expected level of value and experience, reinforced in their new 1975 cover, "The Best Surprise is Not a Surprise." Their promise was a low-cost, stable quality and convenient location for a generation of Americans on the highway for business and pleasure.
Looking back 35 years, we can see the relative benefits and challenges that the hospitality business world has brought to the world. Hyatt, Hilton, Westin, Doubletree, W and Holiday Inn have all cemented their brands and their brand extensions so everyone will know exactly what they will get when they go anywhere in the world. in the lobby. In fact, there are no more surprises for millions of travelers who expect and demand the qualities that these brands provide on a sustainable basis.
It can be concluded that the hotel evolution of this brand will lead to a complete destruction of the independent hotel market. It is not so: In fact, in the last 15 years the growth of the supply of the independent sector has exceeded the commodity turnover of only 4 to 5%. In addition, what independent hotels may lose to branded hotels in terms of overall employment is usually the average daily rate (ADR).
So what is the real challenge in an independent hotel world dominated by brands? The independent owner of the hotel needs to take branding as serious as their brand competitors. This means that the form of the brand strategy plan is being worked out in advance – hiring an architect, interior designers, food and beverage experts, an advertising agency and hotel staff. An independent hotel should clearly indicate who they will serve. They need to define that audience (demographic) both demographically and psychologically. This is very important as this is what brand hotels do.
When you check in at Westin, you know exactly what guests will be there. What you want as a freelancer can be many different guests, one who is looking for a unique hospitality experience, one that they cannot reach in a branded hotel. This is a great opportunity to provide this new expectation of value and experience that is unique to your offer. Going any other way will create hospitality real estate that is unconfirmed and true. Marketing becomes enormously expensive and ineffective when you really do not know who you are marketing to. When both transient and group targets are identified, you can create a brand strategy around them.
One of the boutique independent hotels that has done a great job of creating a unique experience for any branded hotel is the Ellis Hotel in downtown Atlanta. Verified guest staff are reflected in all brand, marketing, catering and beverages as well as room facilities. It's hard to find the right one, and they've done the right thing.
Once you've built a brand strategy, you can call back architects, designers, and F&B people. Now you have a brand, now you can build, you can now fill the rooms with the confidence that you have done your homework and you can provide something that branded hotels cannot, as sometimes the best surprise is well thought out. and a unique surprise.